Basketball: Defensive Fundamentals
Players should be in a low stance with backside out and their knees bent. The feet should be spaced about shoulder-width apart with one foot “splitting the other in half” (one foot slightly behind the other). Weight should be on the balls of the feet as opposed to the heels, and the players' center of gravity should be over the feet – not too far up or too far back. Maintaining a good athletic position and good balance will allow defenders to move quickly. Many times kids will run at the ball with a high center of gravity; they then cannot get their balance back and offensive players are able to easily go around them.
Once players are in a good defensive stance, they need to learn how to glide and move their feet. It is as important to have a good first step defensively as it is offensively.
Players will want to push and glide without hitting their feet together, working in quick choppy steps. Simple defensive slide drills--quick quarter turns to work on quick feet--are good, as are drills that have players move their feet side to side and front to back.
Both hands should be in position to guard the basketball, and one hand should be prepared to defend the shooter. Defenders should keep their eyes on both the player they are guarding and the basketball. When the ball moves, players should jump to the ball. When the player the defender is guarding does not have possession of the ball, the defender should envision a straight line that runs from the ball to their man. Defenders should stand slightly behind that “line,” looking straight ahead so that they see the ball and their man in their peripheral vision.